Chasing the Street Art of San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala
Home Photo Journalism Chasing the Street Art of San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala

Chasing the Street Art of San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala

by Daisy Li

San Juan La Laguna is one of the most visited townships around Lake Atitlan in Sololá, Guatemala. It is a boat ride away from Panajachel, a tourist hot-spot best known for its volcano views and free-spirited vibes.

As one of the 11 towns surrounding Lake Atitlan, San Juan is the favorite of many locals. Nonetheless, each town is unique in its own right. They are inhabited by various Mayan communities and exhibit a vibrancy unlike the other.

The Tz’utujil people, one of the 21 Mayan groups residing in Guatemala, comprises 95% of the population in San Juan. Situated across the waters from Panajachel, the town is known for its rich colors and beautiful graphics. More particularly, its unique methods of farming coffee and corn, talented indigenous artisans, and colorful Naïve art are what draw people towards land.

Since I was in a time crunch, I spent a  single morning wandering its narrow streets and colorful alleyways seeking out stunning art pieces.

It wasn’t difficult.

At 7:30 am, I boarded a small boat from Tzanjuyú dock Panajachel towards San Juan (Q 25 & approximately 20 minutes). The minute I stepped onto the wooden docks of this small town, I was captivated by its gorgeous surroundings.

The walk uphill into the town space likened a tour through an interactive exhibition. Each turn of a corner brought me face to face with life-size images. Each entrance into a side street was accompanied by walls of various shades and hues.

 

San Juan Street Art: Depicting Culture & History

San Juan is famous for its talented craftsmen and traditional methods of farming coffee beans and corn. The town is also known for its weavers, who are some of the few indigenous artisans that produce their own dyes from local plants for the thread they use.

 

San Juan Street Art: Depicting Tradition

Traditional clothing, musical instruments, and gorgeous colors are all part of the package in San Juan, Guatemala.


 

San Juan Street Art: Depicting Modernity

But of course, some pieces also reflect pop culture & technology!

 

San Juan Street Art: The Message

I took some time wandering along the small streets towards the back of the town. Along the way, I spotted some graphics of a noticeably different style 😉

San Juan Street Art: What to Bring Home

Lastly, the street leading towards the dock features some of the most colorful souvenirs. They really captivate the energy of San Juan and are definitely worth taking home!

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